Category Archives: Contextual research

Research- Anselm Kiefer (1945-)

heavy cloud by keifer

HEAVY CLOUD by Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)
1985
 Lead and shellac on photograph, mounted on board
Dimensions: 23 3/8 x 34 1/2 in. (59.4 x 87.6 cm)
Classification: Drawings
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995
Accession Number: 1995.14.41
Rights and Reproduction: © Anselm Kiefer

The above image is how Kiefer illustrates a message of contamination; the lead cloud is dripping shellac which drips down onto earth.  Heavy Cloud is transcribing the scientific process of heavy water which is created with heavy Hydrogen which enables neutrons to split uranium in a process of nuclear fission. In nuclear reactors, the splitting of uranium heats fuel, which can be used to produce electricity. Kiefer has questioned that even though lead is used “to seal radiation, as an envelope for this very dangerous stuff,” the possibility is; there is a risk of a radiation leak.

From My research I have found that Kiefer uses numerous materials or matter in his work and I wanted to know why?

Kiefer treats photography the same as non painterly materials such as straw, earth; lead ect. They are all redeemed as matter for the construction of his paintings or drawings like ‘Heavy Cloud’. My thoughts on this is; how do we classify work as photographs, paintings, drawings, collage, sculptures, ect?

Much of the writings are differentiating between Kiefer and Gerhard Richter as the two artists played a major role depicted the banished (therefore historical repression), the atrocities of a fascist regime associated with German History. Richter style and technique documents the mediation of dissociation from the horrors of the past and re-associate within another time with photographs, found media with regards to his ongoing work ‘Atlas’

Richter presents the past in a neat categorized package as seen with the work ‘Atlas’, he is representing historical experience and constructing conceptions of historical memory. If we see a subject/object in the form of a photograph, generally we believe it actually happened or was captured so was real, but also knowing it could have been taken out of its context, so there is a feeling of sceptic certainty.

Kiefer work is German Expressionism, its his own historical representation painted. Therefore the capacity of the medium of paint is being questioned, Can it really represent historical experience?

‘October 1977’ by Richter consists of 15 oil paintings taken from newspapers that reported on the suspected suicides of contained (by German state police) members of the red army fraction; A left wing terrorist group condemned for kidnapping and killing during the 1970’s.  These paintings are blurred, dark and haunting, they are expressive but have a documentary context. My thoughts are that the two mediums can coexist as forms to represent historical experiences. ‘The Death of the Author’ by Roland Barthes comes to mind when writing about perceptions.

“…the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author” Barthes p.148.

All experiences are our own, to converse these experiences, then someone may be experiencing them passively , but they will never experienced what the self experienced. What ever form of expression is needed to create expression, for it to be successful , you need viewers, readers and generally someone else.  The authenticity of auratic originality or an object, or as a craft that generates a unique aesthetic experience that is in the form of Painting, is never questioned by Kiefer.

To understand the above works, the events of the past need to be acknowledged; German art in 1988 was a project of dismantling postwar historical repression. In the 1960’s , the differences culminated between the work of Richter and Kiefer. At this time, Nouveau realism and pop art were popular artistic practices and Richter wanted to place German painting somewhere in relation to these movements. Kiefer seems to denounce this affiliation and could be considered ‘anti-modernism’. Renationalise and re-regionalize culture production was another avenue taken at the time as the culture was subjected to the ideology of inherited destruction so to divert away from the historical atrocities associated with their race.

“…by the critique of the very idea that a model of national identity could be articulated by cultural production- that Richter and Kiefer can be situated”. Foster .P.613.

The two artists were considered mediators of Germans cultural progression. Kiefer addressed the legacy of German Nazi fascism and Richter incorporates events of German political life recent past as in the series of works- October 1977.

References

Art work accessed on 12/08/2017 The Met. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/486567

Art since 1900. Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-alan Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh. Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing. London 2004

Image music text. By Roland Barthes. Published by Fountain press London. 1977

Link accessed on 12/8/2017. MOMA with reference to the art works mentioned by Richter; Atlas and October 1977. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79037

 

 

 

 

P5;Research point. Abstract Expressionism.

Research the style of painting called Tachisme or Action Painting. Look at the work who developed this spontaneous style of painting such as Hans Hartung, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock and others.

T1963-R6 1963 by Hans Hartung 1904-1989

Hans Hartung
T1963-R6
1963

Tachisme is derived from the French word., tache: ‘spot’ or ‘Blotch’. It is associated with nuances such as ‘Art informal ‘(art without form) , ‘Art Autre’ (other art) and ‘lyrical abstraction’ and was popular in Europe in the late 1940’s-50’s. Tachisme was primary a French phenomenon with artists such as Fautrier, Mathieu and Wols leading the way. It has a style which is more suave, sensual and more concerned with beautiful handling than the work of the Abstract Expressionist, which can be aggressive and raw in comparison when reviewing the observable differences practiced within this particular painting movement. The word Tachisme was also used in the 19th century when referring to the Impressionists. (Chilvers P.615)

 

Action Painting is a type of painting where the act of painting is an event and may be more significant than the outcome of the act. The energetic gestural movements , the uncontrollable dripping, splashing and manipulating the paint towards a surface is carried out without preconceived ideas. It is misleading to attach this with Abstract Expressionism as it is considered part of this movement, but not all abstract expression is action painting. The action of the act is a moment where the artist is able to be free to express along with there creative instinct. Harold Rosenberg called it ‘not a picture but an event’. (Chilvers. P.7) It also has connotation links with American wildness or freedom,  in the above passage I mentioned the European equivalent (Tachisme) was much more suave than the madness of the American style. This wildness was an explanation of the artistic freedom being acted out as ‘action painting’. Pollock explains that when he works on such a large scale, that he becomes part of the painting, he doesn’t see where it starts and its ending, he is interacting with the paint and a surface, he is the applicator.  This is very similar to Monet’s practice, where he works very closer to the painting and is painting an impression of the light and the subject; the water lilies in paint on massive panels with large brush work. The difference is that Pollock works with gravity and conveys no subject and lays his surface on the floor where Monet is more traditional, conveying a subject such as light and works with his canvas in an upright position. They Both wanted to be part of the work. “I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. Painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess “. Pollock. Foster. P.350 Art since 1900.

As MoMA curator ,Ann Temkin explains about Monet’s water lilies, ‘All the normal markers, like the edge of the water or the sky or the distant trees, have disappeared, and you’re just right in the face of those water lilies and the surface of the water with the clouds reflected from above you become lost in this expanse of water and of light.

I wrote  ‘both artists wanted to be part of the work’ I am referring to a desire of escapism from reality. If we can recover our own surroundings with art, then reality becomes a form of art. This idea relates to the fable by Jorge Borges called ‘The exactitude of science’. Jean Baudrillard referred to this fable in his essay called Simulacra and Simulations (1988) . In this essay he describes a reality that is intrinsic with simulating a form of reality that it is no longer real. The fable explains that a map was drawn so detailed and proportionate that it covered the territory that the map was depicting, then generations later the map became weathered, some tattered ruins remain, still inhabited by animal’s and people. I am gesturing that many artists would be much happier if they could immense themselves in there creativities, their world and surround themselves with art. It would become their simulacrum, their reality.

Abstract Expressionism Born 1947;

Was a term coined later on in 1952, represented the fact of the groups very diverse talents under this term abstract expressionisms umbrella, homogenizing and unifying a cast of charters, whom are individual artist in there own style but all share a common longing to translate private feelings and emotions directly onto a surface without any figurative content. This need to express oneself with out the need to lean on nature for an opportunity to express themselves, anchoring there emotions on the figurative side. This letting go of a narrative and traditional forms of art, could have been categorized as decorative patterns.

‘…a horizontal antiform as an abstractness un-colonized by the vertical one’. Art since 1900. Hal Foster.p.359.

The idea that Pollock was an action painter created another dimension to artistry , not just the finished work but the process of creating was kept behind studio doors , not available to the public.

‘…consumers who appreciated artistic innovation as evidence of the natural creativity of the human spirits’. Art and Propaganda by Toby Clark. P.8.

During this period of time we see artists creating in a way that was opposing technology and the popularity of cameras. The need to paint reproducing natural forms was superseded by the reproduction of nature within a photograph. The Camera was automatic and so was a movement called automatism; a term is borrowed from physiology, where it describes bodily movements that are not consciously controlled like breathing. From <http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/automatism>

Artist such as Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Andre Masson were surrealist artist but practiced with methods of trance painting where they tried to stop there consciousness state intervene. This style of spontaneity as a concept is associated with the ideas of free will and was the ethos of Americanisation. The opportunity to be fortunate enough to make something that represents themselves , that issues entirely from their hands and minds , and which they can affix their names to is considered the role of an Expressionist artist. This again resonates alongside Impressionism, as suggested in the above text. An artist that expresses and an artist that creates a work that is a depiction of there perception, there impression. Unfortunately the Automatism became regarded as Autographic. Pollock’s work is very spontaneous but also recognizable as a Pollock. His work became known , hence his trademark or and artistic logo. It looked less spontaneous and less automatic and more conscionable. Abstract Expressionism became a paradox of itself. Robert Rauschenberg who attended Black Mountain college where many of the group had attended explained...’I was never interested in their pessimism or editorializing. You have to have time to feel sorry for yourself if you’re going to be a good Abstract Expressionist and I think I always considered that a waste’. Art since 1900. p.354.

References

Image 1- Han Hartung from the Tate web site on 26.6.2017 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hartung-t1963-r6-t00816>

Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. Fourth edition. 2009 OXFORD university Press. Oxford.

Art Since 1900 by Hal Foster. Thames and Hudson publishers. 2004 London.

Art and Propaganda by Toby Clark . Orion Publishing. London. 1997.

P.5.Research point; Expressionist.

Look at a range of painting, with particular the Expressionist and how they applied paint. Look at some 20th century pastel paintings and make notes about the effects you find.

‘Expressionism is a term used in the history and criticism of the Arts to explain the use of distortion and exaggeration for emotional effect’. Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. 2009.p.210.

Subjective versa objective is noticeable within this context, the subjective feeling is expressed by the Artist depending upon the response to the composition which is the objective observation. Think about Monet’s love for his garden and light. Van Gogh with his frustrating dilemmas fighting within him.  Joan Eardley and her self exploration , depression and isolation, She was a feeling artist and a thinking artist. Edvard Munch was expressing his inner demons, ill health and feeling regretful and responsible for the death of his mother and sister all manifest within his work of woeful melancholy. They express them selfs though the action of painting, the colour they use , the brush work, the size of the work and the subjects they paint.

The range of effects-

Van Gogh effects are his suggesting movement with the many brushstroke style and the colours he uses such as complementary colours layered or within the same composition. Hi technique is Impasto and worked mostly outside. He did not work from photographs so the ever changing landscape or light would have had implications to the outcome of his work.

Monet love and romance towards people and natural things such as his gardens and the effect of the light upon nature are depicted in his gentlemanly style. He plays with the paint on large scale canvases and he bounces colours off one another. His Brushwork is very fluid and he worked up close to the paintings so would have lost himself in these massive panels. I think he was trying to lose himself in his work (he did have many children), like all of the above artist did, they were lucky enough to become absorbed with there creative practices.

Joan Eardley paintings of shabby houses in Glasgow and the poverty of the tenanted children to fishing village of Catterline in Aberdeen can look like a hard landscape versus soft but they don’t express these qualities.

She painted on location, often during wild storms, using oil and boat paint mixed with newspaper, sand and grasses on hardboard. She captures a response to what she sees and the viewer gains a sense of the place. Her paintings are wild, rich in character, just like the subjects she paints.

Edvard Munch pastels are beautifully smooth, delicate and I think he works many layers to achieve a dark moody depth of tone. He is emotionally  part of the work, it’s like his hands were sculpturing the composition with the pastels, charcoal or paint. All the mentioned artists have intrinsically attached themselves to there work and you really see this as an expression of themselves and what they have seen and how that situation has driven them to create very powerful emotionally charged paintings and drawings.  They are not erratic , hectic mess, which is what you would expect from them with all these swollen emotions stirring up inside them. What you see is dedication and a source of exasperating the built up emotions though the medium of paint. It’s a controlled deflation process.

In recent philosophy of mind, the term “phenomenology” is often restricted to the characterization of sensory qualities of seeing, hearing, etc.: what it is like to have sensations of various kinds. However, our experience is normally much richer in content than mere sensation. Accordingly, in the phenomenological tradition, phenomenology is given a much wider range, addressing the meaning things have in our experience, notably, the significance of objects, events, tools, the flow of time, the self, and others, as these things arise and are experienced in our “life-world”. From the article – https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

References

Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artist by Ian Chilvers. Oxford publishing press 4th edition 2009

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

P4 ; research point; ‘Golden mean’

I have some sketches in my workbook of some examples, but I thought I would enter some more notes onto the learning log.

Painters of the Renaissance usually planned the composition of a painting on a geometric grid structure based on a triangle. A common compositional device used and has links to aesthetic values. Shapes have represented signs of feeling such as squares convey a sense of stability and compact solidity where long rectangles suggest calm.

 

The Golden section is a proportion in which a straight line of rectangle is divided into two unequal parts in such a  way that the ratio of the smaller to the greater part is the same as that of the greater to the whole, like the mathematical value of pi. Pi can not be expressed as a finite number , but an approximation. This is the connection of the theory being aesthetic because its similar to the laws of nature. Luca Pacioli a famous mathematician and friend of Leonardo wrote a book about it in 1509 called DIVINA PROPORTIONE.

The ‘rule of thirds’ is a characteristic of the golden mean/ ratio/ section. Where Renaissance artist placed landscape within a grid of 3 rectangles equalling 9 sections and moving the focal point into an intersection away from the centre point of the canvas. These sections such as foreground, mid-ground and background help to divide up the perspective view.

Some examples-

Due to the copyright law, I have posted these on my windows ‘notebook’, Please click on the link. https://onenote.com/webapp/pages?token=hqa6Hzv7eFDjpe7Rtv7HB58cj2rYOWRs8whbC-GlFjhoHBnQ2MkKCKWikI6PSREMEygXNaD0sHbdlkHGx1QTpG5D0XyzP-b60&id=636301922656718810

P4 Research. Expressive landscape; Surrealist…

Research point.

Landscape art from the Surrealist (Dali), war time period (Paul Nash) to the German expressionists (Emil Nolde)and into the symbolist movement (Gustav Klimt).

The surrealist movement began between the world wars with one of the founders being Andre Breton (1896-1966). His definition of surrealism was “psychic automism in its pure state…Dictated by thought in the absence of any control exercised by reason exempt or moral concern.” P190 Art since 1900. Foster.

Insisting that psychic automatism could be unknowingly transcribed by a brush or pencil, Breton welcomed the uncontrolled Masson’s sand painting. Miros dripped and splattered dream pictures , Ernst trance like rubbings.

 

Forest and Dove 1927 by Max Ernst 1891-1976

Max Ernst Forest and Dove 1927. Tate © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

But.. The conscious state of mind can not be interpreted without the unconscious state of mind just the same as; to define up , you need to understand what down is. The states of mind are both being exposed within the surreal movement. Similar to the theory of Schrödinger’s cat where one cat is placed inside a precarious deadly box and the quantum out come is either a dead cat or an alive cat, but during the experiment, we suspect the out come for both cats. Its a paradox where the surreal statement is contradictory as it contains the states from the conscious and the unconscious that are true but not realised at the same time.  Signs are a key factor in surrealist work by the artist Dali. The understanding of the misunderstood is captured and directed by signs. Our Dreams signal to us fear, worries, apprehensions and concerns that have manifest within a conscious state to be reinterpreted in our unconscious sate of the dream. This quote taken from ‘Authentic society’ explains the signs within ‘The persistence of memory'(1931) by Dali.(1904-1989)

The ants, seemingly attacking the orange clock positioned on the rectangular table-like object perhaps indicate the anxiety associated with time… the ants simply represent the association between “work” and time. As if time, in its very short and long hands “working” throughout history of our generation and life experience just like ants who are building an ant house?

300px-The_Persistence_of_Memory

https://g.co/kgs/Ix3IO5 ‘The persistence of memory'(1931) by Dali.(1904-1989)

The dream interpretations are commonly associated with surrealism but the movement was much more than depicting the surreal and more to do with the psychoanalytical theories associated with Freud. The ‘Uncanny’ is how subjects tend to receive an  eerie feeling, often artist would take the familiar and replace it in an unfamiliar surrounding such as the iron below.

Man Ray Cadeau 1921, editioned replica 1972 .Tate

© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

Cadeau 1921, editioned replica 1972 by Man Ray 1890-1976

Freud relates this eerie/ uncanny feeling to the mirror stage and to castration anxiety. These theory’s are where subjects feel safer duplicating or doubling as a way of dealing with the act of seeing and looking and then taking meaning from this experience and how this subject feels at the time. For example when boys realise girls don’t have a penis, and how they fear that castration of the phallus, and when you look into a mirror and your ego returns the look but somehow you don’t feel the same as the reflection in the mirror. Its a shell of the actual self, similar to the states of mind; the conscious being the shell and the unconscious being the inner self (the one we cant see therefore understand). The duplicating or doubling is how signs gain meaning as semiosis. Freud names them ‘presentiments’ which is where signals were registered and meaning given to them because they then became true. Such as Bretons market stall find; ‘slipper spoon’ is a doubling of his earlier request to Alberto Giacometti to sculpt a Cinderella ashtray. The two objects present the idea that Breton was unconsciously a prince searching for a mate.

Paul Nash (1889-1946)was a British surrealist and war time artist

index

Totes Meer (DEAD SEA) is a 1941 oil on canvas

I have seen this painting at the Jerwood gallery in Hastings and it was hung on a dark toned wall. This painting at first, looks like the sea where the waves are structured against each other. The moon also is very noticeable as this informs the viewer the time of day and why the colours are glistering. When I got up closer I remember the uncanny feeling that I felt. It was sad to see all those dead and broken plans,  are they meant to represent the death of soldiers or of these war machines? These machines were created to kill and be destructive. So why feel sadden by them crashing up onto a beach. The silver grey violent sea is rather mean when you get closer and start to understand the picture. The grey metallic wet sand is being solidified or soiled by machines and war fare. The battle in this picture is between the harshness of manmade versa the organics of the sand, land and moon. Objects live on but life’s are lost. It is certainly an expressive painting and stirs up a variety of jagged feelings within the viewer.

emil nolde

Flowering plants Emil Nolde 1909 Paint

Emil Nolde (1867-1956 )was a German / Danish painter and printmaker that love to use colour with full intensity as a technique to stir emotion. The above painting keeps the viewer very isolated within the focus of the flower bed. The big trees that surround the flowers are almost imprisoning them within the confinement of the garden. There is contrast of heat with the warmth of the colours in the foreground, contrasted to the dark foliage of the fern like trees beyond. The painting has very little perspective towards depth, hence the intimate closeness of the surroundings. I think this is an interesting painting and I like the detail of the trees and the tiny indication of a bright blue sky beyond. I can see myself referring back to this example as we have plenty of these trees in the local park that I want to paint with regards the ‘painting outside’ section in part 4. The pink and violet flowers are looking more like a sea of flower blooms and the red hot pokers or foxgloves, give structure to the flower bed. Such as contradiction to the Paul Nash painting above ,which is a sea of death, this is a gestural brushstrokes representing a swirling sea of colourful life.

From my reading of Toby Clark, he expresses a cautionary statement about selective German expressionist writings being fiercely nationalistic declarations and vaguely anti capitalism ,often expressing nostalgic images of a community spiritually unified and at one with nature. The expressionists art and lifestyle of physical sensations and passion over academia was also a sentiment shared with Nazism’s cult of action. The connections are contradictory but there is a doubling or uncanny theory associated to these claims. German expressionism was rooted in the study of ‘primitive’ art with the example of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner(1880-1938), Bathers at Mortizburg, 1909-26 oil on canvas.

Bathers at Moritzburg 1909/26 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880-1938

There romantic view of so called primitive life echo’s Nazism’s grassroots; developed from Volkische culture which is a populist culture focused on romanticizing folklore by celebrating the past.  Josef Goebbels said that German expressionist should be embraced by the Third Reich as they represent a national spirit. But the contradicting tones of authoritarian elites and painting which is considered affiliated to the Bourgeois culture, Degenerated away from national socialism. Senior Nazis including Hitler attacked this modernist movement, even though Hitler was a painter himself.

gk17

Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park Gustav Klimt 1912

Gustav is notably known for his portrait paintings which are symbols of mystical erotic which are elaborately decorated and classified as

Art Nouveau/ Symbolism. Art Nouveau is a movement where organic forms were incorporated with more angulated geometric shapes. Symbolist painters tried to give visual expression to emotional experiences. At the time when modernism was treated with trepidation and where Gauguin called the freeing of painting; ‘the shackles of probability’ (I Chilvers p.613 ). The most emotional painter around this time is Edvard Munch where his paintings pour out emotional turmoil. His use of colour ,composition, brushwork (or lack of) encourages the viewer to look further than just the layer of paint on show. The painting above was started outside but later finished in Gustav’s studio. His landscapes were not commissioned unlike his later portraits so we hope this landscape symbolises his love for painting and not the need for; money, appreciation or popularity.

Final note about Surrealism; The idea where subjects are prone to duplicate or obsessive with repetition is a doubling / uncanny theory which leads itself to the popularity of photography which is a process of copying. The copy tends replace the original as one becomes impossible to differentiate between the two. Similar to reality and the unreal or conscious thoughts and unconscious thoughts, the dead from the living. The simulacrum condition is a world of multitudes without originals, its all fictitious and questions the causation of our desire to repeat.

References.

Oxford Dictionary of art and artist, Ian Chilvers. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 4TH EDITION 2009

Art and Propaganda by Toby Clark . The Orion publishing group. London. 1997.

Art since 1900. Thames and Hudson. Hal Foster, Krauss, Bois, Buchloh. London. 2004

http://www.theartstory.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.tate.org.uk/

http://www.authenticsociety.com/about/thepersistenceofmemory_dali

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kirchner-bathers-at-moritzburg-t03067

Research Point; People in context.

Find 2-3 pictures from different periods of people in context, interiors.

  • What appeals to you?
  • What are the artists intentions?
  • What are the technical and creative solutions that they have brought to the subject?

 

Henry Lamb, 'Lytton Strachey' 1914

Lytton Strachey

Artist: Henry Lamb 1883-1960

Date: 1914

Classification: painting

Medium: Oil paint on canvas

Dimensions: support: 2445 x 1784 mm

Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1957

From <http://www.tate-images.com/results.asp?image=T00118>

 

This Henry lamb oil painting appeals to me because of the elongation of the figure and the over large window.

The translucent trees outside are interesting as they are solid forms but are painted transparently. When I look at this painting I feel like the man in the painting, glum, tired, my shoulders slump and I find myself going into deep thought.

The colours are warm but dull and reflect the mans mood who once said that he was unable to lift a match before breakfast. The view outside the window gives depth to the composition and the couple walking add another narrative to the image. The hat and umbrella indicate that Lytton (wearing slippers) is a guest or is being visited by the viewer/the artist, it adds a mystery to the narrative.

The artist intentions were to depict Lyttons Stracheys feelings and character not just a likeness. He has done this using the soft tones of a warm colour pallet, kept depth to the painting with the use of landscape and trees that are represented in a transdisscent way suggesting they are neither here nor there; like the character that is Lytton.

The technical and creative solutions that were used to represent mood and character in the form of colour harmonies with a warm colour pallet, diluting the paint so to create a translucent coverage and elongating the body and the window to inform the viewer that the character being painted was elegant, lethargic, and longing for another place. The distant look in his eyes suggests a connotation that the sitter is thoughtful, an intellect and is not interacting with the artist. The subject is more about a mood, atmosphere and character than representing a likeness in front of an oversized window.

 

When researching Lytton (1880-1932.51) I found that he was the 5th child from a family of 11 and that his father, a Lieutenant later became a Sir and His Mother was a leader of the women’s suffrage movement. Born in Clapham, London and went to Cambridge University and Later was one of the older but founders of the Bloomsbury group along with Virginia Wolf and Rodger Fry. He published ‘Eminent Victorians’ in 1918 which is a Biography about 4 Victorians but written in a way that was psychological, sympathetic, witty and irreverent. His Brother was James Strachey whom translated Sigmund Freud’s essays into English. He had an interesting 3 way relationship with Dora Carrington who married Ralph Partridge, they all lived together at Ham spray house in Marlborough, Wiltshire. Lytton died of stomach cancer and Dora committed suicide 2 months after his death. Partridge married his lover ( Francis, member of the Bloomsbury group . Diaries) and they had a baby boy which they called Lytton.

Henry Lamb 1883-1960, Australian born British artist founder of the Camden Town Group. Studied medicine in Manchester and was a medical officer in the 1st world war and a war memorial artist in the 2nd. He graduated from Chelsea school of art and design in 1907.  In 1940 was invited as an associate of the royal academy and later a trustee of the national portrait gallery and the Tate. Breton Boy (1910) was sold in 2006 for £60,000.

David Hockney, 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy' 1970–1

 

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy 1971

David Hockney born 1937

Medium Acrylic paint on canvas

Dimensions Support: 2134 x 3048 mm frame: 2170 x 3084 x 58 mm

Tate http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-mr-and-mrs-clark-and-percy-t01269>

 

I have seen this painting which is life size at the Tate Britain and it is in a room where each wall has a life size Hockney painting hung. This painting appeals to me because Hockney has painted an atmosphere and the room with the rug and rather peculiar objects such as the telephone and lamp on the floor and the bland colours signify a realistic moment and when I saw this in person I felt like I could have been in the painted room with Mr and Mrs Clark.

Hockney has referred to -‘…the famous portrait of a married couple, The Arnolfini Marriage 1434 (National Gallery, London) by Flemish renaissance painter Jan van Eyck (approximately 1395–1441), in which a small dog at the couple’s feet represents fidelity.’ http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-mr-and-mrs-clark-and-percy-t01269> When painting his recently married Friends ,he wanted to paint a true representation of his friends but also the atmosphere in the room. By painting the couple in their bedroom with the open French doors he was able to depict an open relationship that didn’t last.

The Technical problems were; the light from the door and the figures in front of this light as it was harder to determine the tonal range , apparently he painted Ossie’s face 12 times due to the size of the figures. He also chose to turn the eyes/face of the couple out of the canvas where previously; one person starring out while the other watches the other starring out creating a circle of looking. The creative solution to help Hockney naturally represent the couple was that he created the same bedroom light in his studio. He also drew the couple many times and took photographs. The cat and the lilies symbolize a meaning  that aid Hockney to tell a story about the couple. The cat is a sign of liberty and often cats are not loyal pets, the Lilies symbolise purity and femininity. The subject has been simplified within this composition which causes a more powerful reason to take meaning from the image. The sensation of looking, from a central location and being welcomed into the realm of Mr and Mrs Clark bedroom is rather peculiar and allows the viewer to stop and think about what is going on in this arrangement of a couple within a minimalistic room with some object that are missing a table. The couple are together in the room but not together in a marriage